NZ vs Pak 2nd Test – Setback for Pakistan, Babar Azam ruled out of 2nd Test against New Zealand: Pakistan’s talismanic captain Babar Azam will miss the second Test against New Zealand, which commences at the Hagley Oval from Sunday. In his absence, Mohammad Rizwan will lead the side, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed on Saturday.
Babar Azam to miss Christchurch Test
— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) January 2, 2021
Babar had a full-fledged training session on Friday but felt slight pain in his thumb, following which, the team management has opted against taking any risk.
Babar had to sit out the three-T20I series and the first Test, at Mount Maunganui, after he fractured his right thumb during a net session in the lead-up to the white-ball series.
Dr Sohail Saleem: “We have seen improvement in Babar Azam’s injury but he is yet to fully recover. He is our captain and the most important batsman in the lineup, so we do not want to take any risk.
“The medical team is constantly reviewing his injury and we are hopeful he will be available for the home series against South Africa.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan will aim to level the series after suffering 101-runs defeat in the first test.
On the other hand, there is a lot at stake for New Zealand in the second Test where they need to win to have a chance of making the World Test Championship final at Lords in June.
New Zealand are vying with Australia, India and England to make the final two.
A draw or better will confirm New Zealand as number one in the world rankings, extend their unbeaten home record to 17 Tests and a win will see New Zealand win six consecutive Tests for the first time.
But Williamson, newly installed as the number one batsman in the world, said rankings and accolades were not a focus.
“You know these are very difficult things to control and these rankings sort of move every day,” Williamson said while adding there was something special about the current Black Caps squad.
“Looking back, we’re always been competitive at times but certainly not all the time and the team’s come a long way in terms of bringing an element of consistency.”
There were occasional showers disrupting practice in Christchurch on Saturday but the forecast is for fine weather throughout the Test.
Pakistan squad for the second Test:
Mohammad Rizwan (captain, wicketkeeper), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah and Zafar Gohar
New Zealand squad for the second Test:
Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Will Young, Mitchell Santner, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, BJ Watling, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Matt Henry and Trent Boult.